Tinnitus: The bells they toll for you

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Tinnitus “TIN-uh-tus” or “tin-NY-tus” is the worse sound in the world. My volume has been quite loud lately but, apparently, I have no control over the volume. Tinnitus is simply the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. The bells, the Bells!! It isn’t a condition itself but rather a symptom of another condition. Such as, hearing loss. Or, migraines. Or, hell, could be a build-up of wax in your ears. 10-15% of people have experienced tinnitus before.

You can hear; clicking, buzzing, ringing, roaring and hissing. Low pitch, high pitch. Constant, periodic. So loud it interferes with other sounds, or so quiet you only notice it when it is quiet around you.

One cause, by the way, is loud noise exposure. My Step-father has this kind. I had read a study specific to this kind that said melatonin helps with this very specific kind. And he finds it works, when he takes it regularly.

I have chronic tinnitus. But I have TMJ as well and chronically it isn’t that loud or noticeable. Now with a migraine it tends to get louder and a much higher pitched. With the streak of bad migraines lately it is been quite loud. I usually listen to the radio at night to distract myself from this sound in order to sleep. And it is far louder than that lately. I am astonished I do manage any sleep, to be honest.

With migraine with aura, tinnitus can be an auditory aura. For example, when I say it gets louder and higher in pitch it tends to be in my aura stage. But then you want to make sure it isn’t Meniere’s Disease, and if you get hearing loss, this is something to look into.

Yet.

If you get vertigo and dizziness with your tinnitus as I sometimes do you could also get, as I do, Vestibular Migraines (used to be called Migraine Associated Vertigo or MAV).

Yet.

It can occur in the Headache phase of a migraine.

If a specific cause of the tinnitus is identified, treatment may be available to relieve it. For example, if TMJ dysfunction is the cause, a dentist may be able to relieve symptoms by realigning the jaw or adjusting the bite with dental work. If an infection is the cause, successful treatment of the infection may reduce or eliminate the tinnitus.

Many cases of tinnitus have no identifiable cause, however, and thus are more difficult to treat. Although a person’s tolerance of tinnitus tends to increase with time,19 severe cases can be disturbing for many years. In such chronic cases, a variety of treatment approaches are available, including medication, dietary adjustments, counseling, and devices that help mask the sound or desensitize a person to it. Not every treatment works for every person. Vestibular.org

 

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Oh the bells! Tinnitus hells bells that is

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Tinnitus is a migraine thing. It is an insane horrible migraine thing. I have intractable daily chronic migraines with aura. Which means tinnitus is in that aura section of the experience I can have. Also I have vestibular migraines (used to be called migraine associated vertigo) which also has tinnitus. You can read about it here from Migraine.com. However, I also have TMJ and fibromyalgia… so tinnitus is a constant thing for me.

It is constant. But it also gets louder and changes pitch with a migraine. Insanely loud. And my hearing can get muffled or I can lose my hearing. All of which can and does occur with migraines in the aura phase. Lost my hearing for a week recently on one side and the tinnitus was so loud it was driving me batty. That sound can drive anyone insane. The pain. The noise. It is like a way to torture someone.

I listen to the radio at night, all night, because I have profound insomnia and I cannot stand listening to the tinnitus in the silence. Even when it is at its mildest, in silence it drives me mad.

Here is the thing, nothing seems to help with it. By the way, I have a treatment I read in a study for noise induced tinnitus. So if you worked in a loud job for a long time and it gave you tinnitus. The research looked into melatonin for it. I recommended my step-father try it for his noise induced tinnitus and it indeed does work.

For ours though the one thing I have found suggested is Gingko biloba due to blood flow and circulation issues. I tried it and it seemed to have a dimming effect on my permanent tinnitus but not so much the migraine aura tinnitus. Another recommended one is zinc and B12, I have not tried that route. I take a lot of B12 but have slacked on it recently because supplements are expensive to be honest. However I have some now so many I can tame this beast with that.

It is like adding insult to injury having that with a migraine and all the damn other symptoms we have to deal with. Pain, in your head, that you cannot ignore or function through. And a sound you cannot stop hearing… and the most annoying sound in the world.

I had a friend with horrible tinnitus ask me once what migraines were like after we complained about the ears for a bit. And I said imagine that tinnitus ringing noise louder and filling your whole brain, my imagine every time it pulsed it hurt instead, pulsing with the sound there would be this immense pain. Throbbing, pulsing, stabbing. I don’t know if it helped her imagine the pain part but it made sense to me at the time.

All I know is that lately I cannot escape the high pain levels, the persistent damn nausea and this all consuming fatigue. The tinnitus is the cherry on top of this craptastic two weeks.